Midnight and phone dead,
the Innocent Tunnel is a wormhole,
the walls slick and vivid.
I am in Scotland like some vein:
up there all the weans are quiet
and the streets are gaunt and rain
washed and the poets are scheming
and the politicians are sound asleep.
The paths sprout like capillaries.
I take the one that leads to sages,
Tim Propp, Robert Louis Stevenson,
Big Mary of the Songs.
They are talking silently:
there are ruins but no culture, they say,
there is hatred but no criticism.
there are crowds but no community.
Where are our people, the bard asks.
Despite all our most fervent
tweeting we are not saving the world
not even this small part Scotland,
land of glaur and thrawn misery
where the people feast on each other.
We stare at the gas lamps which make
a gauze like glow and the umbers deep
in the well of the bar where we are reflected
over and over again with that beard
or shawl or bicycle receding to infinity.
We sit in mid century silence and
our thoughts turn to those who occupy
our heads like a sullen army. We raise
our tall shining glasses to the dead,
to the list that is unending, to the faces.
I hear my daughter playing a lament:
she has been practising for years
and is now good enough to break my heart.
The tunnel is narrowing into a point
of throat like the foam and then the rest
of a pint might, like being unborn back
into the depths of the atomic soul.
Day will cover the city like a fire blanket.